With permission from Organic Consumer’s Association, I am including their newsletter for the latest on glyphosate, Monsanto, and their effects on farming and our food:
Next week, on October 11, members of the European Parliament will hear from scientists, campaigners, regulators and others about allegations that Monsanto ”unduly influenced regulatory studies” about the safety of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup weedkiller.
The EU Parliament won’t hear from Monsanto. Why? Monsanto lobbyists are now banned from entering the EU Parliament because the company refused to send its CEO to the October 11 Parliament meeting.
Monsanto officials were asked to attend and respond to questions related to incriminating documents that came to light as a result of lawsuits filed against the company by people who say Roundup caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer—and Monsanto knew of the risk, but hid the evidence.
The Guardian called the Parliament’s decision a “bitter blow” to Monsanto, which will now “be unable to meet MEPs, attend committee meetings or use digital resources on parliament premises in Brussels or Strasbourg.”
Bitter blow? Or maybe just deserts?
The EU is supposed to decide by December 15 whether to continue to allow the use of glyphosate. (The U.S. EPA, which was supposed to make a similar ruling in 2015, is still stalling).
France and Italy say they want glyphosate off the market. Germany’s position remains unclear.
Stay tuned for details on next week’s hearing.
A Better Idea
October 16 is World Food Day. It’s also the day that Monsanto and its agrochemical cronies will be in Iowa, celebrating the bounties of industrial agriculture (in other words, their massive profits) at the corporation-run “World Food Prize” events.
We think there are better ways to celebrate World Food Day. Here they are:
• Join the “4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative,” the global initiative to increase carbon sequestration in soils as a means of increasing global food security and reversing global warming.
• Donate to Regeneration International, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit partially funded by OCA. This international coalition shares best practices in regenerative agriculture and land restoration, several of which are being piloted at OCA’s Mexico-based Vía Orgánica Ranch, which recently hosted the 2017 RI General Assembly.
• Attend the 2017 Food Sovereignty Prize Live Ceremony (online) honoring the Zimbabwe Small Holder Organic Farmers’ Forum and the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.
• Join the World Food Day Thunderclap for a global ban on Monsanto’s Roundup.
Finally, if you’re not doing this already, grow organic food in your own community, or buy it from local farmers!
Soul of Organic?
Or are you OK with putting the “USDA Organic” seal on food grown indoors, under artificial light, with a manmade cocktail of liquid nutrients feeding exposed roots?
Or do you think the term “certified organic” should be reserved for food grown in living earth, nourished by sunlight, fresh air and the complex interactions between plant roots and soil microbiology?
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which will meet Oct. 31- Nov. 2, is set to rule on whether vegetables grown hydroponically, without soil, can be certified organic.
Who’s In favor? Mostly Big Ag companies, such as Wholesum Harvest and Driscoll’s, that want to replace organic farms with organic factories.
And Scotts Miracle-Gro, one of the biggest suppliers of the nutrients, growth mediums, containers, irrigation systems and lighting required for hydroponics, or soilless crop production. Scotts is also the exclusive distributor of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT OCT. 11: Keep the Soil in Organic! Please click here to sign our petition. Or text SOIL to 97779 to sign.
DUMP DIRTY DAIRY
Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s likes to use the phrase “Peace, Love & Ice Cream.” But if anti-factory farm consumers have anything to say about it, there will be no peace for the ice cream maker until the company goes organic.
So far, over 100 OCA network members have signed up to distribute leaflets in front of Ben & Jerry Scoop Shops or natural food stores such as Whole Foods that sell Ben and Jerry’s.
Want to help keep the pressure on Ben & Jerry’s? New to leafleting and not sure how to get started? Our team is ready to help. Sign up here. We’ll send you everything you need.
Nearly 90,000 acres of Vermont’s farmland is planted in GMO crops—crops that feed the dairy cows that supply milk and cream to Ben & Jerry’s. Those crops are heavily sprayed with Roundup, atrazine, metolachlor and other poisons.
That makes Ben & Jerry’s one of the largest polluters of Vermont’s waterways.The company also sources cream from factory farm dairies in western states.
It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to live up to its marketing claims by promising to transition to 100% organic. An organic Ben & Jerry’s supply chain would be better for the environment, better for human and dairy cow health, better for farmers and better for farmworkers.
Consumers are key to getting Ben & Jerry’s to go organic. Sign up here for more information on how to become part of the Consumer Revolution!
Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign (Donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible).
Monsanto cheerleader Kevin Folta is no stranger to OCA. Folta dogged us relentlessly in 2012, 2013 and 2014, when we were part of a coalition working to pass laws that would require labels on GMO foods.
Most recently, Folta attacked us for revealing that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is contaminated with glyphosate—news that was reported by the New York Times.
Now Folta, chairman of the Horticulture Sciences Department at University of Florida, is suing the Times and Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Lipton, for allegedly misrepresenting him as a “covertly paid operative of one of the largest and most controversial companies in America, Monsanto.”
Folta claims the Times, and Lipton, misrepresented him in order to “to further their own anti GMO’ agenda.” That’s quite an accusation, coming from someone who’s made a career out of, well, lying.
In a new well-documented and detailed fact sheet, US Right to Know, an independent nonprofit partially funded by OCA, spells out just how deceitful Folta, who has referred to the food movement as a “terrorist faction,” has been about his relationship with Monsanto.
SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF
Gracias a Todos
As we reported last week, the families and neighbors of some of our Mexico City-based staff were directly affected by the most recent, and devastating, earthquake in Mexico’s largest city.
And as promised, we’ve dedicated 15 percent of your donations (to our third-quarter fundraising campaign) to helping as many survivors of Mexico’s two back-to-back earthquakes as possible—including rural farmers.
Thanks to your generosity, our Mexico City staff (some of whom are pictured here) we were able to purchase and deliver much-needed tools, food, clothes, tents and sleeping bags to people in the city, and in rural communities. Many of these people lost everything, including their homes.
Over the past week or so, our hard-working Mexico team members have witnessed some horrific scenes. But they’ve remained strong—and above all determined to get supplies you bought to those who most need them.
Thank you to all who helped make our fundraising campaign a success—and even more important, helped us help others.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (Tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education).
Donate to Organic Consumers Fund (Non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts).
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
‘Farmers for America’
There’s no escaping it. Food—real food, the kind that actually provides nutrients—comes from farms.
But with the average age of today’s farmer being 60, and young people unable to afford farmland and equipment, who will grow our food?
“Farmers for America,” is a documentary that explores the changing American farm scene and changing consumer trends. The film takes a close look at today’s farmers, and those standing in line to replace them. Can their spirit and energy bring urban and rural America together over our common need for food?
Dying to Eat
For all Monsanto’s bluster about “feeding the world,” the truth is this: Globally, 3.9 billion people are either hungry or malnuourished, according to ETC Group.
Now, a new global study (billed as the most comprehensive of its kind) says poor diet, which often leads to obesity, kills one in five people.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which coordinated the study, said:
One of the most alarming risks in the GBD is excess body weight. The rate of illness related to people being too heavy is rising quickly, and the disease burden can be found in all sociodemographic levels. High body mass index (BMI) is the fourth largest contributor to the loss of healthy life, after high blood pressure, smoking, and high blood sugar.
Who’s to blame for the foods that are killing us? Big Food, mostly.
The New York Times recently reported on the rise of obesity in Ghana, which not coincidentally corresponded to the rising presence in U.S. companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC):
But KFC’s expansion here comes as obesity and related health have been surging. Public health officials see fried chicken, French fries and pizza as spurring and intensifying a global obesity epidemic that has hit hard in Ghana – one of 73 countries where obesity has at least doubled since 1980. Obesity rates have surged more than 650% since 1980 from less than 2% of population to 13.6 percent.
According to the Times, KFC, owned by Louisville, Ky.-owned YUM!, has about 850 outlets throughout sub-Saharan Africa: to Angola, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana and beyond.
Essential Reading for the Week